NOT WAVING BUT DRIVING

NOT WAVING BUT DRIVING

After twenty-odd years of Greek island life, I’ve finally had my eureka moment. But, unlike local mythology, my insight didn’t happen in the bath. It happened in the road…

Now, before you imagine me streaking naked down Makarios Avenue, blissed out by sudden revelation, let me set the scene: I was in the car (as decently clothed as the unseasonably warm October weather would allow) and turning into my street. Or attempting to because, as anyone who lives near the Aretaieio Hospital knows, parking in the area is a bit of a free-for-all. So, with the inevitable approach of three other cars, I did the only decent thing: I reversed to let them pass.

Which is where The Revelation comes in…

One, two, three drivers all passed by without the slightest semblance of gratitude. No smile, no nod, and certainly no wave of thanks. Then, just at the point when I was preparing to express my disgust via the medium of colourful Anglo Saxon (sorry mum), I realised something. These people weren’t discourteous. They weren’t ignorant. And – hopefully – they weren’t blind.

What they were, is law-abiding.

It’s taken me two decades (and the odd flirtation with Tourette’s) to decipher why Cyprus lacks anything approaching automotive civility. Clearly, I live in a nation which so reveres the rules of the road that not even the most thoughtful of gestures can be dignified with an inclination of the head, much less – gasp! – a lift of the hand from the wheel. Not one was willing to corrupt their principles for even a second.

I applaud them. I really do. I can’t think how I missed – for years – the fact that I live in the most law-abiding nation on the planet. To think I believed all those stories about bribery and corruption – shame on the media for painting such a depraved picture of this wonderful country! Of course, now I know the truth, should there ever come a time when a fellow driver is compelled by gratitude to lift a finger from the ten-to-two position, I shall immediately report them to the authorities. Who, as we all know, are the most upstanding citizens on this honest island.

Now, please excuse me. I’ve outlined my thoughts in a letter to my MP, and will be sending it to him forthwith. Does anyone know the address of the prison?

Driving in Cyprus, waving your thanks? Please let me know I’m not the only one risking life and limb in automotive gratitude…